When Aston Villa plummeted to the Championship in 2016, few could deny that it was coming. Year after year of Mid-table mediocrity and relegation battles proved one step too far, as the once European Cup Winners embarassingly crumbled week after week to finally succumb to the inevitability that was, relegation.
Having embarked on their second season in the second tier, they're still not entirely sure what their future holds. The promised land of the premier league, or a decade in the championship? We shall see. Once a Premier League regular, The Villains at times, boasted an impressive team sheet and 6th place league finishes represented this for a number of years - thus making their gradual demise into the abyss of the Premier League somewhat surprising to say the least. With his side rapidly losing confidence over the seasons, Randy Lerner the Chairman, equally lost his confidence in the club - spelling disaster. Progressively lacking significant investment into the side, the team continued to struggle - before the eventually couldn't withstand anymore.
The similarities between Villa and a number of clubs in their current league, are striking. A Once succesful giant of the English game, based in a huge city, with a large stadium and back catalogue of Legends to have previously played in their colours - Sound familiar?
Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday fans would, whilst not wanting to admit it, agree that all this sounds like deja vu. The clough years at Forest, the Champions league era for Leeds and the Top division regulars who visited hillsborough week in, week out, are bygone eras that have since been put to the back of nostalgic mind, as they have become all too used to slightly less glamourous fixtures. It's a scary thought for the football fan. Years of supporting your club at places like Anfield and Old Trafford can soon switch entirely on it's head to Burton and Barnsley away on a tuesday. Whilst Villa Fans probably naver anticipated such a fall from grace only a decade ago, you can probably argue that Leeds and Forest and Wednesday fans, also didn't anticipate such a long gap without top flight football. They're now used to it. No mega super dooper sunday fixtures. No european football, or the hope that you may finish 7th. No big money signings. No Match of the Day Analysis...it goes on.
But these fans don't care, it's their club and will always be their club - even if they were to fall down the football pyramid even further. All three giants have over the years indeed slipped into the third tier without having returned to the top flight - yet all three still reserve hope that one day they will be back.
Villa are in limbo. They may return to the premier league this season - or they may stay put for the next decade or so, with the odd relegation to league one. It's still not too clear, but what we all know is that it may take a few years of disappointment before the mighty Villains get a dose of the big time again. Having said that, Leicester City were in League one in 2008 and it didn't turn out too badly for the foxes...so live with hope, Aston Villa.